Retreat day – Guilderton

I am sitting at a picnic table on Stephen’s Cresc in Guilderton, WA, looking over the Moore River.

It has taken me 90 mins to drive here, and before I do any of the things I have in mind for today, I just want to sit and listen in the quiet.

The descending call of a Whistling Kite, the gentle cooing of some Spotted Doves, interrupted by angry staccato bursts of some unidentified Honeyeaters.

Across the small waterway – just another little inlet on the Moore River estuary, a couple of men engage in animated conversation. I can’t tell what they’re saying. It doesn’t matter. Seven kayaks ply their way across the inlet.

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A pair of ringnecks burst past in a flash of fluoro green and yellow. A Red Wattle Bird calls. A congregation of White Tailed Black Cockatoos scriyaws their morning choir practise, while a Wedge Tailed Eagle slides in large lazy circles, magnificently indifferent to smaller birds’ attempts to pester him out of their territory.

The sun is on my neck.

The wind is at my back. It blows away the business of recent weeks.

God is close. His world is beautiful.

Our Church Council is working through Greg Ogden’s Leadership Essentials, and recently I was challenged to reinstate monthly prayer and process retreat days. This is the first of those days for a long time.

Theology According to Penfolds Grange

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As we walked around the bottle shop at The Blue Cattle Dog, he asked, “if you knew Jesus was coming again wouldn’t you want to buy a bottle of Penfolds Grange just to see what it was like?”

I thought for a few seconds, and said ‘No mate, I probably would not. I think the wine in the new heavens and the new earth is going to be way better that anything that Penfolds – or anyone else – can offer.”

He looked puzzled. “Why would we have wine in heaven?”

“Well, why wouldn’t we?” I responded. “What makes you think there won’t be great wine in heaven? And food better than anything we can imagine?”

This seemed to confuse him even more. He said he knew we would still have bodies, but wondered whether they would be the kind that will have need for food or drink, or any other kind of sustenance.

 

Will we eat in heaven? Live in homes? … Will there be a structured society? Or will it be a case of some kind of bodied existence will little or no relation to the world around us?

 

And then I started wondering about this little exchange, and why I thought an eternal physical reality, with joys like eating and drinking was such an obvious thing to expect, and why he thought it was so abnormal…

What do you think? Will we eat in heaven? Live in homes? Walk in national parks? Or grow vegetables in the backyard? Will there be a structured society? Or will it be a case of some kind of bodied existence will little or no relation to the world around us?

These are not just academic questions, the answers to which we’ll only know when Christ returns. My belief is that the picture you have of where you have come from (Eden) and the picture you have of where you’re going (eternity) will determine the shape of your spirituality and your mission in the present.

So, the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that my friend would probably have most of the Christians in Australia on his side, and that maybe I was a minority.

 

How you see where you have come from (Eden) and where you’re going (eternity) will determine the shape of your spirituality and your mission in the present.

 

After all, haven’t we always been told that the heaven is a spiritual place? And doesn’t that mean there will be nothing physical or material there? Isn’t it true that this earth will pass away, and be burned up and there’ll be nothing left of it?

This is the tension I want to wrestle with. In future posts I want to draw on some of the biblical themes relevant to these questions.

For now, why not let me know what your thoughts are?

Grace and peace,

Dave